Response Crafting

Cue some or all of the things.

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A woman lifts a bottle of chemicals, dyed milky blue, into the frame. She smiles, moves her mouth around some words, smiles some more. A child – not her child; someone else’s child; a child of an unknown person – runs into the frame, blonde hair bouncing, and then back out of it; a dog follows; the sound of laughter and barking is dubbed over their movements. They are gone.

The woman blinks; pauses… offers a theatrical sigh, and then smiles again. “At least I have this” She gestures to the bottle – her product – her arm sweeping across the frame. “This, I can always rely on.”

Cut to her swallowing her pills with a glass of milky-blue liquid while waiting for the wash cycle to finish. She retches, regains composure, finishes the glass. Never was the same after the third – maybe fourth – miscarriage… she doesn’t bother now to count.

A man is in the park. He has a sickness; his clothes no longer clothes, hanging off of him, barely covering the parts which they are meant to cover. He claws at the tree bark, his fingers dirty and then shiny on top of the dirty. He mumbles obscenities to himself and no one; shouts them in long, ropey sentences that cling to people as they pass him.

He has a lot to say but is saying nothing.

Cue overuse of every obscene, offensive, gruesome or otherwise unpleasant word in vocabulary, just for effect, so that audience understands the very vulgarity of situation. These things are hundreds of insects and all imagery of black; things draped too heavily over everything; things like suffocation and/or subtle feeling of slime. Stress sadism; include all references to death; kill characters off by hanging or “instant heart attacks on the spot.”

Cut back to imagery of a dog lapping up the milky blue.

How is your “wholesome” now?

I wrote this after finishing Naked Lunch. This is about the most that I thought of it. I could think of little else while reading. Cue overuse of everything. Cue repulse and cue despair.

And I think now, looking back… this is literature? I don’t know. It is, obviously. It obviously is. But somehow, I guess, I think that we deserve something… better? I think we can leave ourselves with feelings better than this. And why not? Why shouldn’t we expect to have something better than sadness when we set down a book? Does instilling dread and darkness in a reader make the work somehow more valid? Maybe it does. After all, these are real feelings that have validity in the human spectrum of emotions. They “count” just as much as any other; perhaps setting down a book that steps outside the bounds of “reassuring” is more important to our being. I don’t know.

Cue uncertainty. Such being human.


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